Monday, June 25, 2007

U.S. Mayors Pass Mayor Newsom's Resolution Calling for Support of Municipal Water, Study of Bottled Water Impact

Efforts to Kill the Resolution by Coca-Cola and Beverage Companies Fail SF Public Utility Commission to Look into Bottled Water Issues Tomorrow

For Immediate Release:
June 25, 2007

Gigi Kellett: (617) 320-5845 — by cell in Los Angeles
Patti Lynn: (617) 695-2525
(Original Article)

Los Angeles — At today’s meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, mayors rejected efforts by the American Beverage Association and Coca-Cola to stop a resolution that highlights the importance of municipal water and calls for a study of the impact of bottled water on city waste. Mayors overwhelmingly voted to support the resolution, introduced last week by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Salt Lake City Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

There is growing concern about the impact of bottled water on our environment and confidence in our public water. Corporate Accountability International is working with mayors as part of its “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign to challenge the impacts of bottled water and to raise awareness about the importance of strong public water systems.

On Friday, Mayor Newsom announced that San Francisco would phase out the purchase of bottled water, and the Public Utility Commission will hold a meeting on the topic tomorrow. Last week, the Ann Arbor (MI) City Council announced that they would no longer have bottled water available at city sponsored events. Restaurants are also joining in, proudly serving municipal tap water in lieu of bottled water.

“Momentum is building in support of our public water systems,” said Gigi Kellett with Corporate Accountability International. “We congratulate all of these mayors — and the U.S. Conference of Mayors — on their leadership passing a resolution that places the political will of mayors behind full support of municipal water. It is a critical step toward keeping our public water supply strong. The ripples of leadership will be felt in cities and towns across the country. Our mayors are standing up for the environment and standing behind public water systems.”

People in the U.S. currently spend $11 billion a year on bottled water. At the same time, there is a $22 billion funding gap between what cities need to spend on water infrastructure and the money available to them. Last year, at least four billion pounds of plastic bottles ended up in city waste streams. It can cost cities more than $70 million in dumping and incineration fees, not including the costs of collection, trucking and litter removal.

“Many people have become convinced that bottled water is safer and healthier than tap water. The reality is that public water is actually better regulated,” added Kellett. “The explosive growth of bottled water consumption also increases the waste disposal costs for municipal governments. This resolution is important because we need to know what the overall impacts of bottled water are in our communities to make sound decisions for our spending and our environment.”

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